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Hunter Henry could make debut for Chargers vs. Patriots


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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Lorenzo Reyes gives us one key for every wild card winner if they want to advance even further in the playoffs.
USA TODAY

All season long, the Los Angeles Chargers have been without one of their best weapons.

But in Sunday’s divisional-round game against the New England Patriots, tight end Hunter Henry could make his long-awaited return to action.

Henry, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in May during the offseason workout program, was activated by the team Monday to the 53-man roster off the physically unable to perform list Henry is immediately eligible to play, and it’s up to the coaching staff to decide how to use to the 24-year-old.

In a corresponding move, the Chargers placed linebacker Jatavis Brown on injured reserve to make a spot for Henry.

Henry had been practicing, but the team opted not to activate him for the wild-card round. Los Angeles went on to secure a 23-17 victory Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. But even though Henry has been called to the active roster, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said his role might be limited.

“He would definitely be on a pitch count,” Lynn said last week of Henry when addressing a potential return. “You can’t put a player out there for an extended period of time who hasn’t played since last December.”

More: Chargers vs. Patriots playoff preview: Will Philip Rivers break through vs. Tom Brady?

More: 32 things we learned heading into divisional round of 2018 NFL playoffs

If the Chargers advance past New England, however, Henry could be an added weapon in the red zone for quarterback Philip Rivers in the AFC Championship Game.

Henry tore the ligament in his knee on the first day of organized team activities, and returned to practice Dec. 17. That launched a 21-day window by which the Chargers needed to activate Henry, or else shut him down for the rest of the year.

In 29 career games and 23 starts, Henry – a 2016 second-round draft pick – has recorded 81 catches for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.

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